Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Woman Warrior (Part 2)
“…a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Celtic Gaul] in a fight if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult.”
The Celtic heroine, Catrin, in Apollo’s Raven is based on reliable evidence of first-century warrior queens of powerful tribes in Ancient Britain (Ancient Roman Britannia). These real-life female rulers and military commanders were recorded in historical accounts by the Romans who invaded Britain in 43 AD.
Tacitus, a first-century historian, wrote in his Anals: “it is not the first time that Britons have been led to battle by a woman.” He wrote extensively on two Ancient Britain warrior queens:
- Cartimandua (Sleek Pony): Queen of the Brigantes, a north-central British tribe; Roman client queen in 50 AD.
- Boudicca (Victoress): Queen of the Iceni, a Northeastern British tribe; military leader of both female and male warriors in major revolt against Roman occupation in 60 AD.
The rights and position of Celtic women far exceed those in Rome, where the male head of the family (paterfamilias) had complete control over his wife and family. Further, there was historical evidence for the existence of female druids—spiritual leaders—in the Celtic society. Boudicca may have been a priestess of the goddess ‘Adrasta’, the goddess of victory.
Celtic Woman Warrior Battle Dress
One of the challenges for Rebekah West [Rebekah West Photography and Creative International; Website: http://rebekahwest.com] was to locate authentic costumes and weapons in preparation for the photo shoot on 13 June 2012 when my granddaughter, Maylin, posed as Catrin, an adolescent Celtic warrior princess. Rebekah’s son, Shevek, who had a background in theater arts, provided Celtic swords used in the various settings. Just prior to the photographic adventure, he practiced with Maylin in the proper handling of the sword.
The more difficult obstacle was to locate authentic wardrobe for a Celtic woman warrior. My original vision was based on documented battle gear of Celtic male warriors: multi-colored tunics, mail-shirt or leather chest armor. In advance of the photo shoot, I provided key measurements to Rebekah for outfitting Maylin. After an extensive search, Rebekah finally located a woman’s leather chest and wrist protectors based on actual replicas from archaeological digs. And just in case—a local artist was ready to weave a mail-shirt as back-up wardrobe.
Below is a photograph of Maylin posing as Catrin in battle dress (leather chest and wrist protectors and earth-brown tunic) and armed with sword.
(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure)
The Roman History of Amminus Marcellinus, published in Vol. I of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1935; Book XV, 12 The Manners and Customs of the Gauls, p. 197.